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Jumps for joy

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College of Liberal Arts and Sciences commencement Sunday at the UIC Pavilion.

Photos: Ellen Dallager, Roberta Dupuis-Devlin

Last week was a series of happy occasions on campus, as 14 colleges and other programs held commencements and convocations honoring the 7,000-plus new graduates.

The UIC Forum and UIC Pavilion were filled with the customary balloons and flowers, proud parents, beaming spouses and squirming children.

Speakers included Arnold Relman, prize-winning science author and former editor-in-chief of the New England Journal of Medicine, Terry Mazany, CEO of the Chicago Community Trust, and Christopher Kennedy, president of the Merchandise Mart and chair of the U of I trustees.

But the moment was perhaps best summarized by English professor Luis Alberto Urrea, who addressed the College of Liberal Arts commencement on Mother's Day.

Urrea is a 2005 Pulitzer Prize finalist for nonfiction and winner of several literary awards.

Looking out at the new graduates who filled the UIC Pavilion, the Tijuana-born Urrea said that, like many of them, he was the first in his family to attend college. 

It's not just your day, he reminded them it also belongs to the families, friends and people in the community who have supported you in your academic achievements. 

Students celebrate outside the UIC Pavilion Sunday after College of Liberal Arts and Sciences commen

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